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Greater Columbus Arts Council, City of Columbus and Franklin County Leaders Launch a Public Art Plan Initiative

in Press Releases May 25, 2023 5 min read

“Greater Columbus. Greater ART.” Initiative to Launch at Columbus Arts Festival

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) presents “Greater Columbus. Greater ART.,” a year-long initiative to create a roadmap for the future of public art in the central Ohio region. With funding from the city of Columbus, Franklin County and GCAC, this will be the first comprehensive public art plan for the city and county. Columbus is the only city, of the 14 largest in the country, without a public art plan.

”Greater Columbus. Greater ART.” will lay out a blueprint for the next five to 10 years for strengthening the cultural infrastructure of greater Columbus by casting a bold vision to catalyze the creation of more public art. The plan will serve as a tool to guide communities in public art planning in the short and long term, with an emphasis on the equitable distribution of art in the public realm and diverse and inclusive representation of both artists and the communities they serve, ” said Jami Goldstein, vice president of marketing for GCAC and spokesperson for the project.

“Greater Columbus. Greater ART.” will include an analysis and inventory of existing public art, robust stakeholder input, research to identify current and forecasted needs, both financial and programmatic, and implementation strategies.

The positive benefits of public art are numerous and well researched, including enhancing shared public spaces, beautifying and revitalizing the built environment, and improving the quality of life for residents. Municipal public art programs facilitate social cohesion and foster a deeper sense of belonging and place by emphasizing the unique character of communities, providing safe and welcoming spaces for people to gather, interact and create shared experiences. Public art also supports creative industries as well as tourism and others, serving the broader economic development goals of the city and county.

The planning process will prioritize the broadest possible engagement of stakeholders, beneficiaries, and audiences of public art, involving those who live, work, create, visit, play and learn in Columbus. This includes but is not limited to artists, art workers, arts organizations, residents, families, students, researchers, visitors, tourists, educators, youth advocates, business owners, real estate developers, government officials, nonprofits, community organizations, community organizers and thought leaders across disciplines.

In acknowledgement of the ambitious aim to champion diverse and numerous voices, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, the public engagement campaign, “TAKE PART—Greater Columbus. Greater ART.,” will feature a survey (launching June 5) to help measure current perceptions of and needs for public art, as well as prompt thoughtful reflections: Who should own public art? Who does it benefit? Who pays for it? What does public art mean to you? The survey will be promoted and available during the Columbus Arts Festival, June 9-11—a cultural highlight of the region that attracts nearly 500,000 attendees  annually. The survey will remain open through the website for a minimum of four months to ensure the broadest possible representation. Additionally, GCAC is proud to announce a partnership with Orange Barrel Media to promote the survey via digital IKE kiosks throughout the city. Community events such as town hall meetings, sector workshops and activities and presence at existing cultural activities will also be organized to connect with the public and stakeholders in person.

GCAC, an organization dedicated to stewarding Columbus’ public funds for the arts for 50 years, will lead “Greater Columbus. Greater ART.” in cooperation with the city of Columbus, Franklin County and the Columbus Art Commission and with support from professional consultancy Lord Cultural Resources and Columbus-based cultural practitioners Jonna Twigg and Marshall Shorts. A Steering Committee composed of representatives from local stakeholder groups will lend additional oversight and accountability for the planning process to ensure that key deliverables of the plan prioritize equity and access, both in terms of artists and cultural consumers. GCAC and its collaborators will present the final Greater Columbus Public Art Plan in summer 2024, which will mark a new era of advancement for public art in the region.

“There is no place like Columbus. This region is a champion for creative and cultural programs, diverse artists and communities and vivid creative expression. GCAC is excited for the opportunity to steward a new service model for improving the public realm through the arts. We commend the leadership of Mayor Ginther, Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Commissioners, whose advocacy and joint allyship have made this endeavor possible. This investment is both transformational and prescient, responding to a need for the built environment to facilitate deeper belonging and to act as a platform for human exchange and dialogue,” said Goldstein. “We are committed to developing equitable strategies that consider the broad community impacts of public art as well as serve artists and the community as a whole.  We encourage  everyone to participate and help shape the future of public art in our neighborhoods and our community.”

The website is the primary hub for information and updates about “Greater Columbus. Greater ART.” It includes basic information and resources for stakeholders and the general public on how to participate in the process. Upcoming events will be added to a calendar of events in the following weeks.

Greater Columbus. Greater ART. Steering Committee

  • Irene Alvarez, Leadership & Business Consultant and formerly COO, Columbus Partnership
  • Michael Bongiorno, GCAC Board Member, Architect and Managing Principal/Design Director, AECOM
  • Randy Borntrager, Assistant Director, Department of Public Service, City of Columbus
  • Adam Brouillette, Principal, Blockfort Studios and Artist
  • Curtis Brown, Community Partnerships Administrator, Office of Budget & Management, Franklin County Board of Commissioners
  • Greg Corbin, Arts Leadership Consultant, Poet, Educator, former Nonprofit Executive
  • Melanie Corn, President, Columbus College of Art & Design
  • Jeff Edwards, Owner & Founder, Edwards Companies
  • Stanley Gates, Director of Community Engagement, Columbus City Council
  • David Guion, Executive Director, Dublin Arts Council
  • Betty Hill, Supervisor of Arts & Physical Education, Columbus City Schools
  • Lisa McLymont, Columbus Art Commissioner and Artist, Graphic Designer & Social Justice Advocate
  • Bernita Reese, Director, Columbus Recreation & Parks
  • Brian Suiter, Principal, RiverWest Partners
  • Amy Taylor, President, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation
  • Shelbi Toone, Project Manager, Poindexter Village Museum & Cultural Center and Artist
  • Merijn Vanderheijden, Columbus Art Commissioner and Director, Urban Arts Space and Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University

About GCAC

The Greater Columbus Arts Council’s mission is to support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. GCAC funds artists and arts organizations in central Ohio, provides marketing services for artists and organizations through the event calendar, public art database and artist directory, and produces the annual Columbus Arts Festival.

About Lord Cultural Resources

Lord Cultural Resources is the global practice leader in cultural sector planning. Since 1981, we have helped to create, plan, and operate cultural spaces and places in more than 460 cities, in 57 countries and six continents.

For media or press inquiries:
Sarah Irvin Clark
Irvin PR

Jami Goldstein, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, GCAC

Holly Shen, Director, US, Lord Cultural Resources